Hands-on Learning for Apprentices at The Green Quarter

James Barnett, 19, is an Apprentice Site Manager at The Green Quarter in Ealing, studying for a construction site supervisor level 4 apprenticeship. James grew up in Pinner, 20 minutes away from the site, so was familiar with the area. Through a friend, he was also aware of Berkeley’s reputation, and discovered the apprenticeship opportunity through Berkeley’s website. 

“I wasn’t originally convinced that I wanted to go into construction, but when I looked at the role description and videos of previous apprenticeships on the website, I thought it seemed really interesting.  

“I went for an interview on site with the project director, and learned first-hand about the way Berkeley works – I was impressed and was then convinced I’d enjoy the apprenticeships.” 

James’ working days usually involve a combination of site supervision, face-to-face meetings, and office-based work, all valuable experiences for a career in construction. As an Apprentice Site Manager, James’ tasks include everything from quality checks and health and safety, to writing daily diaries and creating spreadsheets.

“The learning process is really hands-on, which is great.  I have a mentor who helps me with anything that I don’t understand, and I’m out on site quite a lot.  There’s so much to learn in construction, and if you’re like me and you like learning, it’s a lot more fun when you’re surrounded by people that are experienced at what they do. 

“The atmosphere in the office is also really good, and I feel confident going up to anyone in my team to ask questions, whether it’s my mentor, or the project managers and director.  It’s important not to feel scared when you make a mistake or have a question. 

“People skills are something I’ve been able to develop quite quickly – you’re speaking to different teams, contractors and people on site every day, so you need to be able to come across well. I’ve also really improved my attention to detail – you learn that a lapse of concentration can create a chain reaction that can make your work a lot more difficult.” 

James started his three-year apprenticeship in October 2021, working on a phase at The Green Quarter in an early stage of development.  He’s looking forward to seeing the project as it develops. 

“It’s so interesting so see how much the site changes on a daily basis – different layouts, different walkways, different people. Over the course of my apprenticeship I’ll get to see the whole process end-to-end, which will be really useful for me, and I’m focusing on learning as much as possible during these three years.  

“Hopefully I’ll be able to use the skills I’m developing on future phases on the development – there’s so much to learn, the training is great, and I’d like to stay with Berkeley for a long time.”